Centre rubbishes AAP allegation of `bulldozing temples`


The Central government rubbished the Aam Aadmi Party`s allegation of “bulldozing temples”, saying that the demolition is being done as per the procedure.

In a series of tweets, Union Minister for Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri asked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to “rein in” Atishi for her comments.

“Lies succeed in travelling halfway round the world before the truth is able to get up and tie its shoelaces. Recently AAP leader Atishi Ji absurdly suggested that Centre & its agencies were on the verge of bulldozing temples!” tweeted Puri.

“A lie will remain a lie no matter how many times it is repeated. So if Atishi Ji continues to falsify the narrative further, the Hon`ble Delhi CM should rein in the MLA, failing which I will address a press conference to set the record straight”, added Puri in another Tweet.

Puri further attacked Atishi and said that she is “ill-informed” of her own AAP government`s actions as she is manufacturing “fake narrative”.

“The Religious Committee under a senior official of Delhi Government has already met twice on 26 and 29 April. A joint inspection was carried out on 27 April under its directions. The MLA does not appear to be aware of her own government`s actions as she manufactures a fake narrative,” added Puri.

“AAP leaders must know that urban rejuvenation is a serious subject. Efforts to make Delhi a world-class capital will need saner views, not such ill-informed fake narratives & rajneeti. They should get their facts right to avoid such embarrassment,” Puri tweeted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Atishi alleged that the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sent “demolition notices” to four temples in Delhi`s Sarojini Nagar area, warning that the people of Delhi would not “tolerate” such hooliganism of the BJP.

Atishi had also alleged that the BJP-led Central government has served notices for the demolition of four temples without following the “due process” for the execution of such an action.

Seven GPRA colonies at Srinivaspuri, Thyagraj Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Sarojini Nagar are being developed by CPWD and NBCC respectively under MoHUA.

As per the Supreme Court ruling in 2009, no unauthorised construction of any religious institution, namely Temple, Church, Mosque or Gurudwara etc shall be permitted on public streets or public space.

The Delhi High Court, in 2015, in a case directed to demolish entire construction where idols are not installed or placed and GNCTD to explain as to why the Religious committee has not promptly dealt with the menace of unauthorised construction and encroachments in the name of religious structures.

A detailed chronology of what transpired and has led to the demolition has been accessed exclusively by ANI. Sources in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told ANI, “The first internal meeting of the Ministry was held on 9 April 2022 with all the stakeholders including senior officials… It was conveyed by representatives that religious committee would decide only about the shifting of idol or GarbhGrah part of the religious structures, rest of the unauthorised part is to be got vacated by the land-owning agency itself.”

The sources further added, “For the redevelopment of these areas, removal of unauthorised jhuggies and 53 unauthorised religious structures ( including 51 Temples, 1 Mazar, 1 Gurudwara) encroaching prime Central government land was necessary. Notices have been served to all non-notified jhuggies in first week of April and all 53 religious structures on 13 April and 19 April as per procedure to let them know in advance that due procedure to be followed has been initiated and giving them sufficient time to shift on their own.”

“Simultaneously, reference was made in the prescribed format on April 6, 2022 and a reminder sent on April 20, 2022, to the Religious Committee constituted by Honble LG, Delhi vide order dated February 18, 1991, under the directions of Honble SC to deal with the demolition of religious structures on public lands which are in the nature of encroachments.”

Top officials in the ministry further said, “Thereafter, Home Department, GNCTD scheduled the Religious Committee meeting on April 26, 2022, at 5 pm. It is chaired by ACS Home, Delhi and Addl CP Special Branch and Jt CP range concerned and HoD of the land-owning agency. Any action regarding removal will be taken as per the decision of Delhi Government Religious Committee.”

Sources said that a Religious Committee meeting was held on April 26, 2022, at Delhi Secretariat chaired by ASC (Home), Government of NCT of Delhi, Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, IAS.

“The Chairman of the Religious Committee asked for a joint survey to be done by a team comprising of Land and Development Office officials, Special Branch Police and Delhi Police and thereafter have a meeting again on February 29, 2022, at 5 P.M. at Delhi Secretariat. Joint Survey was conducted for all 53 unauthorised Religious structures on 27.4.2022. The last meeting of this committee took place on 29th April. This is a case of unauthorised land grabbing in the name of religious structures and as per the sources the final decision is in true court of GNCTD. Any decision in this regard is to be taken by GNCTD and the role of land-owning agency would come thereafter.”

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Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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